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2020/ 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12

3/01  Wasn't His Day

5:35 p.m. Win Bright wasn't in a condition to win today. I got the impression that it wasn't his day watching him walk around the paddock. Lucky Lilac looked good on the contrary, and I thought I'd done a blunder on my call for Nakayama Kinen. I should have keyed Lucky Lilac instead of Win Bright. It's not so hard to tell when Win Bright isn't in a state to win or even race.

Well, it ended up Soul Stirling (the 6th favored, I didn't know this was her last run) hanging on in 3rd place increasing the pay-out, otherwise it would have been a sleepy race. I'll have to learn how to organize my schedule together with my notes. And no karaoke treat for you Filip, it wasn't your fault today but still you didn't win.

The End

Caterpillar

3/02  Lyle Hewitson

3:50 p.m. Time flies and this week Yayoi-sho (a step race for Satsuki-sho) would be running already. I realized an unfamiliar name shown on the TV screen while they put up part of the entry list for the race. There was the name of Hewitson on the rider's name for Authority.

The name was new to me and so I've done a brief research. Lyle Hewitson 22 years old has been admitted a short term riding lisence and is going to be able to ride until May 3rd. His guarantor is trainer, Sakae Kunieda. The young jockey originally belongs to South African Jockey Club but has mainly been riding in Hong Kong for 2019/2020 season. His season record in Hong Kong is 3-8-10-214 and has also set up the worst record of 140 consecutive losses however, he wasn't given many chances to ride favored horses. As a matter of fact, he's never had the chance to ride the most favored, only twice for the 2nd favored, and 3 times for the 3rd favored. On the other hand, he has won taking the lead from start to finish on a horse with the win odds of 40.0, or came in 3rd place on the most unfavored horse. Has already won 6 G1 races in South Africa.

I've checked out a couple of movies of his won races and thought he wasn't bad. I mean, he seemed to be understanding the race having own strategies, and enough skills to control his horse despite his short career. Whether he could perform well in Japanese horse race is a different question, though he seems to have connections with Northern Farm so he'll probabaly have more chances than in Hong Kong.

The End

Caterpillar

3/03  Tulip-sho

4:07 p.m. If Yayoi-sho is already coming up, then Tulip-sho (a step race for Ohka-sho) would come up together. Actually, it's gonna be run on the day before Yayoi-sho Saturday, the 7th.

Woman's Heart, Cravache d'Or, and Resistencia will be running in Tulip-sho, while Sanctuaire is planning to enter Ohka-sho without running any prep races. Resistencia is a good horse but there seem to be other horses that want to take the lead on the entry list. If she draws an outer post which is a disadvantage concerning Hanshin 1600m, she might not be the first to hit the wire.

Anyway, I'm sure it's going to bring up the spirit for Ohka-sho, regardless of the winner.

The End

Caterpillar

3/04  Lucky Lilac for Osaka-hai

4:41 p.m. Lucky Lilac who finished 2nd in Nakayama Kinen is aiming for Osaka-hai. It's been announced today that her next race would be Osaka-hai.

Lucky Lilac's performance in Nakayama Kinen wasn't all that bad ai suppose, considering her time of the last 3 furlongs which was the same as Danon Kingly and, that she'd drawn an outer post among a small number of horses in a come-back race after a break. Seems to me the horse is reaching her prime and she'll probably perform better in her next race especially, when the conditions give her some advantages. Lucky Lilac does better starting from an inner post in a full-gate race. Average to high pace suits her well as it makes it hard to control herself in slow pace. She performs well on both firm, fast tracks and soft tracks as long as she can keep her concentration. Distance, I'd say her sweet spot would be from 1800m to 2200m though she has enough potential to cover longer distance.

Meanwhile we might be having turbulant weather this weekend meaning, the trial races might be run on soft to yielding turf condition.

The End

Caterpillar

3/05  The Umbrella Mark...

4:14 p.m. And just when I started worrying about weather, the umbrella mark on Sunday is replaced with a closed umbrella mark... Well, let's leave it at that until Saturday.

I'd rather go check the past results. Yayoi-sho is notorious for having low pay-outs. I ought to do an analysis on whether it's true and if so, why it always ends up that way. From a different point of view, low-payout races like Yayoi-sho or Kyoto Dai-shoten could become a target for investment.

The End

Caterpillar

3/06  Foolish Fantasy

3:21 p.m. As I checked the past 10 years of results for Yayoi-sho, erm...? Uh-oh. It wasn't a low pay-out race ata all. The average payout for trios in the past 10 years was 14,613 Yen! Who said the payout was low?

While I was caught in a foolish fantasy, the barrier has been dran and announced for both Yayoi-sho and Tulip-sho. For Yayoi-sho, Wakea drew post number 8, Satono Flag 1, Authority 10, and Black Hole 5. As for Tulip-sho, Resistencia drew post number 4, Cravache d'Or 1, Woman's Heart 7, and Smile Kana 10.

The End

Caterpillar

3/07  Room for Improvement

6:20 p.m. I've had some time today to watch Tulip-sho on TV. Resistencia has lost in 3rd place however, I think that was because it was her prep race. Her condition didn't seem so bad, but it wasn't perfect either meaning, she still had room for improvement. Mirco marked Resistencia to win and he took to the rail in the last stretch because he thought that was the only possible way he could beat his rival. But Cravache d'Or doesn't have the instantaneous speed like Deep Impact descendants. As a result, she gave way to Maltese Diosa who has Deep's blood. The pace was slow for a mile race and Resistencia is sure to perform better if all goes well.

Finally, my call for Yayoi-sho. I've been swung around by the forecast but it looks like the sky will hold. So I've ditched the idea of soft track. Will key Wakea on a wheel of Panthalassa, Black Hole, Win Carnelian, and Authority. Good luck, Lyle Hewitson!

The End

Caterpillar

3/08  Soft Track

4:47 p.m. And who said the weather would hold? It's been raining since last night, as a matter of fact it's still raining outside and the turf condition for Nakayama was soft...

Satono Flag can be a nuisance when calling Satsuki-sho. Winning 2000m races in a row, especially 5 million Yen class around this time of season usually becomes a burden for 3-year-olds. However, Satono Flag is a Deep Impact descendant that has features to keep winning while their spirit is high and concentrated. Still, physical damage would be piling up although unseen. I should say Satono Flag is on a tightrope considering Satsuki-sho.

Will have to go and check Dee Majesty's case, I suppose.

The End

Caterpillar

3/09  Not Bad

3:44 p.m. Lyle Hewitson seems to be doing well. He's just arrived and have won 3 races, one 2nd place and one 3rd place. His winning rate is 21.4 % and his rate to come within 3rd place is 35.7 %. Not a bad rate, considering the circumstance. Think he will be having more chances while he rides in Japan.

Personally, I don't think it was the rider's fault that Authority lost in 3rd place in Yayoi-sho. It could have been the horse's condition or that he had to start from an outer post. Inner posts starters get the advantage in a race with small number of horses, as well as on soft or yielding track condition. It seems the horse needs some more time to grow up to his potential. His pedigree shows he has at least high physical potential however, the horse is still young and sometimes you just have to wait until time does its magic. I have a hunch that Authority would perform well on wide, spacious courses like Tokyo. Let's look forward to his growth for now.

The End

Caterpillar

3/10  Maximum Security Under PED?

2:45 p.m. Bloodhorse has reported that Jason Servis, the trainer of Maximum Security winning Saudi Cup were among 27 trainers, veterinarians and others indicted March 9 in federal court on doping-related charges in racing. The news has reached Japan, too as I've read in an article of Nikkan Sports.

According to Bloodhorse, Servis is accused of "covertly obtaining and administering adulterated and misbranded PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs), including a PED called SGF-1000 (intended to promote tissue repair and increase a racehorsefs stamina and endurance beyond its natural capability), to virtually all of the racehorses under his control." It is not yet known whether Maximum Security was under the effect of PED at the time of Saudi Cup however, the circumstance does not seem to point towards innocence. Christophe Lemaire's comment when he came back from Saudi also seems to illustrate. Answering to an interview on Gold Dream, the jockey had mentioned Maximum Security as a great American horse, that the horse had won although driven all along and having some diadvantege in the last stretch to have to pull himself together. This all might have been the effect of PED.

It's always the human doing wrong, not the horse.

The End

Caterpillar

3/11  Following Story

2:44 p.m. The following story of Maximum Security. (Maximum Security's) "Owner Gary West has announced the horse will be turned over to trainer Bob Baffert after Jason Servis' March 9 federal indictment on doping-related charges," reported Bloodhorse. No surprise there.

Japanese horse race fans might not be familiar with Bob Baffert, but many of you might recognize the names of horses the trainer has sent out, Captain Steve (2001 Dubai World Cup winner), War Emblem (2002 double-crown winner), American Pharaoh (2015 triple-crown winer), Justify (2018 triple-crown winner), and more. Maximum Security currently seems to be in quarantine in Chicago, and his owner says he will be heading back to the farm before he starts training again.

I'm not sure if those PEDs would leave any damage to horses, though there must be certain damage in Maximum Security after having been driven all the way in Saudi Cup. Hope the horse gets a good rest.

The End

Caterpillar

3/12  No Spectators Race

4:41 p.m. This weekend's JRA races have been announced to be held without spectators again. What to do with further races will be announced later.

I guess this can't be helped considering the situation. At first, I thought it was interesting to watch races without spectators. You can hear the sonds of hooves and the whack of whips and, the bellowing of a jockey even through the TV screen. Quite refreshing.

While I'm getting used to this, Kinko-sho will be run with several unique horses entered such as Gibeon, Cadence Call, Saturnalia, Daiwa Cagney, Nishino Daisy, and Bless Journey. Also, Kiseki has been announced to run Hanshin Dai-shoten. Does that mean he's aiming for Tenno-sho spring?

The End

Caterpillar

3/13  Why Kinko-sho?

4:29 p.m. It's Friday already and so the barrier draw has been announced for Kinko-sho. Saturnalia has drawn post number 6, Lord Myway 10, Last Draft 2, and Gibeon 7.

I wonder which race Saturnalia is aiming for, Osaka-hai or Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong? Osaka-hai more likely considering the current situation involving COVID-19. But then, there would be only two weeks in between races. Saturnalia has never been raced with such short intervals. Also, Kinko-sho would be a counterclockwise race which Saturnalia has never won up till this point. Plus, he's carrying the heaviest weight among his competitors, 58kg.

So why did it have to be Kinko-sho?

The End

Caterpillar

3/14  End of Winter

2:56 p.m. Snow has started falling in Tokyo. It's not unusual to have snowfall around the mid of March in Tokyo, or sometimes as late as early April just about spring comes along. Looks like a typical end of winter.

Not sure about the weather in central Japan, but today's racing results for the finished races tell me the track condition of Chukyo turf is soft. Taking in account it would probably clear up tomorrow, still I would key Saturnalia for Kinko-sho. The horse has to win or at least finish within 3rd place with these competitors, despite the counterclockwise course. On the wheel would be, Lord Myway, Satono Garnet, Gibeon and Jun Valcan.

The End

Caterpillar

3/15  Just Because

5:05 p.m. The turf dried and was announced to be firm, the pace was slow, no reason for Saturnalia to lose. Have done another blunder with Satono Saltus, it was this Satono I meant to buy not Garnet. Gibeon was close again, I don't know what is it that's keeping him behind, always a point something seconds.

Just because Saturnalia has won today, that doesn't necessarily mean he's going to do well in his next race, whether it's Osaka-hai or Queen Elizabeth. Osaka-hai especially, because there's only two week's interval, though I understand that's why Christophe didn't give the horse a whip today. Added to the short interval, the conditions of Osaka-hai is unlikely to be in Saturnalia's favor.

The End

Caterpillar

3/16  Got to Win

5:15 p.m. I wonder if we're still going to have no-spectator races this week. The spring G1 races are only weeks away and I surely hope they will be run as usual, but we'll have to wait and see.

Aiming one of those spring G1 race Tenno-sho, Kiseki will be appearing in Hanshin Dai-shoten run this weekend as his prep race. Seeing the entry list, I think it's a race Kiseki has got to win just like Saturnalia had to win Kinko-sho.

The End

Caterpillar

3/17  Moreira!

5:20 p.m. Have just been to take a peek at the entry list for Dubai Turf, the race Win Bright is entered though it's not decided yet whether he will run in it or Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong. In fact, he might not run in either races due to restrictions caused by COVID-19.

Anyway, I saw the list and was surprised to see João Moreira's name in the rider's name column of Win Bright. Moreira? You mean Moreira, the "magic man"? Not to mention, my excitement shot up.

I was leaning towards Queen Elizabeth as the horse shows great performance on Hong Kong turf, but now it's a different story. Maybe Win Bright could even beat Almond Eye if Moreira is on his back.

The End

Caterpillar

3/18  Dropped Down to Hell

4:41 p.m. And just when I'm being shot above the clouds, I'm dropped down to hell with the news of Moreira won't be able to ride Win Bright...

According to some sources including Nikkan Sports, João Moreira decided not to leave Hong Kong where he will have to go through 2 weeks of quarantine after he gets back from Dubai. I can't blame him for prioritizing his riding requests in Hong Kong, though I think that was something he could have forseen before he accepted the offers from Japanese horse owners.

Meanwhile a possibility of not selling betting tickets for races held on Dubai World Cup Day is being delivered, while JRA announced to continue holding races without spectators for March 20, 21 and 22.

The End

Caterpillar

3/19  Otherwise Depressing World

6:26 p.m. It seems the news broke out after I'd been dropped to hell yesterday. The new rider of Win Bright has been announced as Oisin Murphy, following the cancel made by João Moreira. Yes! Yessss!!!!

The past couple of days have been quite turbulent for me, what with the change in rider, my regular medical checks, roaming about in search of toilet paper, wet tissues and other items, on top of all this corona crisis. I've been repeating being shot up in heaven, dropped down to hell, and then shot up again in a short period of time. But now I'm relieved and happy to hear the news.

Speaking of good news, the anime series Violet Evergarden on-aired in 2018 will be on a recap from Wednesday, April 1st on ABC TV, Tokyo MX, and BS 11. This is probably related to the release of the story's second the movie on April 24th. Additionally, a new volume of Violet Evergarden's novel, "Violet Evergarden Ever After" will also be in store from March 27th! Good news cheer me up in an otherwise depressing world.

The End

Caterpillar

3/20  Checking Out

7:11 p.m. It's a national holiday today, so I'm staying home enjoying some time off work, checking out how my friends overseas are doing. They seem to be all right so far and I'm relieved.

The barrier draw for Hanshin Dai-shoten has been announced (as it's Friday), with Kiseki in post number 9, You Can Smile right next to Kiseki in post number 10, and Bozzhira in post number 7. So the top 3 faovroed horses are all gathered on the outward posts.

Spring Stakes barrier draw has also been announced, Weltreisende in post number 3, Falconia in 5 and Succession in 9. It's looking like jockeys from overseas might be stuck at their own turf due to COVID-19. It might give our younger jockeys some more chances, though it's up to them to get those chances or not.

The End

Caterpillar

3/21  Some People

7:47 p.m. I'm at work today, in case everyone is thinking I'm having consecutive holidays like all others, which was exactly what my dear mother had been thinking. Humph. Some people just have to work in order to make a living whether we're bing hit by COVID-19 or not.

And, here's my call for Hanshin Dai-shoten. I've decided to key You Can Smile. If Kiseki goes up front which is likely, he will become a good target to take over. So I'm putting Kiseki on the wheel, together with Bozzhira, Muito Obrigado, and Meisho Tengen.

The End

Caterpillar

3/22  This Will Take Time

7:05 p.m. Kiseki's terrible start must be the remnants of Triomphe de l'Arc. I remember reading an article that the horse was going through training to keep his position. The horse has been screwing up his start after he came back from France.

Kiseki wasn't originally a good starter especially, since he needs some time before shifting into top gear. He also had trouble harmonizing once he got flared up. Today, all those problems seem to have come up to the surface in Hanshin Dai-shoten. I think this will take some time to reset.

As for Bozzhira, it seems the previous race was his best performance. I was worried about his being transported to Hanshin, and resultingly my worries proved right.

The End

Caterpillar

3/23  Dubai World Cup Day Cancelled

3:50 p.m. It's getting closer to the end of March and Takamatsu-no-miya Kinen will be run this weekend, probably. Also, Dubai World Cup Day is going to be held on the night before, though no one is sure whether it would really be run or not, thanks to COVID-19.

And just as I'm saying this, I find that Dubai Racing Club has announced to cancel Dubai World Cup Day due to the spreading of COVID-19. I know it can't be helped but disappointed somewhat. It breaks my heart tot think of all the risks and damages the horses and horsemen have gone through, just to have the races cancelled with only 5 days to go.

The End

Caterpillar

3/24  Corona Confusion

6:37 p.m. Corona virus confusion. Christophe Lemaire has to stay secluded in his house after he's come back from Dubai, where he'd missed the chance to ride Almond Eye. Resultingly, he cannot ride in Takamatsu-no Miya Kinen and Osaka-hai.

Mirco and Yutaka hadn't left Japan when Dubai World Cup Day was announced to be cancelled, it seems. The news have been delivered today, that Mirco is riding Mozu Ascot who'd cancelled off its tour to Australia, while Yutaka is riding I Love Tailor in Takamatsuno-miya Kinen.

Well, still it might give young riders some chances as I've said earlier. Otherwise, I doubt if Yutaro Nonaka wouldn't have had the chance to ride in a G1 race in his 5th year as a jockey.

The End

Caterpillar

3/25  Why not?

2:19 p.m. Half of the week has already gone by and the riders' column of the entry list for Tkamatsu-no Miya Kinen is filling up.

I've already written about Mozu Ascot and I Love Tailor and today it's been announced that Danon Smash will have Yuga Kawada as the rider. He also hadn't left Japan yet when Dubai World Cup Day has been cancelled, it seems. That leaves only a couple more horses whitout a rider; Mister Melody, Soul Stirling, Right On Cue, Gold Queen, with the latter 2 horses unlikey to make it to the race, since there are so many horses entered. Why not give Miura a chance, then?

By the way, I'd like to have this opportunity to apologize for the upload negligence which occurred on last Saturday, the 21st of March. It transpired stupid Cow had "forgotten" to upload my call for Hanshin Dai-shoten, although I had worked so dutifully on it. It's not his first offence, he needs a penalty.

The End

Caterpillar

3/26  All-Japanese-Jockeys'

2:22 p.m. The entry for Takamatsu-no Miya Kinen has been closed.

Unfortunately, the names of Mister Melody, Soul Stirling, Right On Cue, Gold Queen are not on the list. It's a pity Mister Melody is still stuck at Dubai as he is the defending champion. But well, that can't be helped, I guess.

Whatever the reason, it's been quite a while to see only one katakana name on the riders' column. If Mirco was in Dubai, it might have been an all-Japanese-jockeys' race.

The End

Caterpillar

3/27  Thankful

1:55 p.m. The barrier draw for Takamatsu-no Miya Kinen has been announced without delay. I'm thankful that JRA is still holding races.

Post NumberHorse Name
1Stelvio
2A Will Away
3Diatonic
4Teehaff
5Love Kampf
6Danon Smash
7Groove It
8Gran Alegria
9Tower Of London
10I Love Tailor
11Kurino Gaudi
12Seiun Kosei
13Daimei Princess
14Mozu Ascot
15Nac Venus
16Mozu Superflare
17Shivaji
18Normcore

Tower Of London has drawn a good post. I'm not sure about the horses drawing outer posts as the track condition might be soft.

The End

Caterpillar

3/28  Ridiculous

7:05 p.m. Sorry for being late, I had to go out to buy some toilet paper though eventually I gave up for today as they cost double the price compared to usual. It's ridiculous.

Here's my call for Takamatsu-no Miya Kinen that I've pondered. Will key Tower Of London on a wheel of Diatonic, Gran Alegria, Kurino Gaudi, Seiun Kosei and Mozu Ascot. The impression I got from Tower Of London when he won Sprinters' Stakes is still fresh in mind and it made me put trust in this horse.

The track condition is a nuissance since I can't check it for myself however, if Mozu Superflare takes the lead (like last year) the pace won't slacken, hopefully.

The End

Caterpillar

3/29  Chances They Deserve

5:18 p.m. The lap didn't become as tight as I'd expected it to be and as a result, the horses that went up front finished in the top 3 (except for Gran Alegria) while the horses that stayed behind like Tower Of London or Danon Smash, I Love Tailor sunk low.

The inquiry took a long time until the stewards finally announced the demotion of Kurino Gaudi, and the winner as Mozu Superflare. Congratulations to Fuma Matsuwaka for his first G1 win, this is what happens when young jockeys get the chances they deserve. This win can motivate Matsuwaka to even think better and work harder.

My call fell flat, an "epic fail" which hopefully will make me work harder on calling races. But on a cold, snowy day like today with the governor's request to not go out, it's best to stay home compensating yourself with a bowl of Sapporo Ichiban.

The End

Caterpillar

3/30  Reviewing

4:39 p.m. A bit of reviewing. Although Takamatsu-no Miya Kinen was run in average pace this year, it must have been a tough race for the horses considering the track condition. This explains the bearing of Kurino Gaudi. Of course, it also could have been because the horse is still young and still has a lot to learn.

As for the puzzling loss of I Love Tailor, I'm suspecting her piled-up damage in both physical and mental condition, since she has been performing highly for the past 7 races consecutively. The loss in her weight despite the interval seemed to suggest that. From fear she might fall apart any minute, I'd cut her out from my wheel. I think the same kind of thing might have happened to Tower Of London or Mozu Ascot. No horse can get away from the damage of winning a G1. My mistake was that I'd keyed such a horse.

A little bright news in a bound world. The horses that had traveled to Dubai has all come back and are now safely in quarantine.

The End

Caterpillar

3/31  Substitute Races

3:54 p.m. Today JRA is holding subtitute races for Sunday's cancelled races at Nakayama. March Stakes must have already been finished by now. As you might know, Sunday's races after race number 3 at Nakayama has been cancelled due to snow. Let's go see how Clincher did.

Suave Aramis, the most favored has finished 1st place, followed by Clincher in the 2nd place and Rapier Wit in the 3rd place. Ooooo. So lincher has hung on to 2nd place. I thought he'd finish 3rd and if he did, I wasn't going to keep watch. But as he still hung on, think the horse still needs attention.

The End

Caterpillar